Salamba – Supported, Bhujang – Cobra, asana – pose
Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx pose) is a modified version of Bhujangasana to help beginners ease their way into it. This pose is also good for people who have lower back ache as it has less arch and therefore reduces the pressure on the spine.
How to do Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx pose)
- Lie on your belly, with the forearms flat on the floor, elbows under the shoulders, chin on the floor and legs together.
- Press the forearms down into the floor and inhale and lift the head and chest off of the floor, keeping the neck in line with the spine.
- Pull up the knee caps, squeeze the thighs and buttocks, engage mula bandha, and press the pubic bone down into the floor.
- Keep the elbows close to your sides and use the arms to lift you up even higher. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Draw the chin in towards the back of the neck and gaze up at the third eye point.
- Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.
- To release: exhale and slowly lower the chest and head to the floor. Turn the head to one side, slide the arms alongside your body and rest.
BENEFITS + CONTRAINDICATIONS
Benefits: Sphinx opens the chest and strengthens the core body. Cobra aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the back, arms or shoulders, pregnancy or recent abdominal surgery.
Practicing Sphinx Pose can warm the spine and lengthen it, helping to prepare it for deeper backbends. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Take it slowly and don’t push your body to achieve a deeper backbend. If you are experiencing discomfort in your back or neck, only lift your chest as far as you can without causing pain.
- Strongly engage your legs and press down through your pubic bone. This will help you lift your chest higher in the pose.
- Never force yourself into the pose, striving for a deeper backbend. Go only as far as your body allows. Think “extension” and “lift,” rather than “bend.”
- Remember, the depth of your backbend doesn’t matter! What matters is the even distribution of your spine’s curve and your ability to breathe smoothly while in the pose.